Player Capsules: Andrew Nicholson
By John Denton
May 1, 2013
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic’s run of six straight seasons in the playoffs is over, ending the Eastern Conference’s longest such streak. But not all is lost for a Magic franchise with a bright future.
The Magic have a history of success that says that the franchise will soon be back in the NBA’s postseason. In the past 20 years, the Magic have made the playoffs 14 times – the fifth most times of any NBA franchise. And since the 1992-93 season, Orlando has had a .500-or-better record 16 times – also the fourth-best mark in the NBA over that time frame.
There are plenty of positives to come out of the 2012-13 season as the Magic have established a core of promising young players and they have a base of veterans expected to return next season.
Orlando also has secured the best odds at getting the top overall pick in the June 27 NBA Draft. The draft order will be determined in the May 21 NBA lottery, a process in which the Magic have a 25 percent chance of winning. The Magic have won the NBA’s top overall pick three times, and the last time they were in this situation they won the top pick and used it to select Dwight Howard in 2004.
Looking back on the 2012-13 season, we here at orlandomagic.com are going to spend the next three weeks breaking down each of the players currently on the Magic roster. We’ll look at their stats, highs and lows from the season, a favorite moment and analyze their role for the future.
So without further ado, here is today’s Magic player capsule:
NAME: Andrew Nicholson
JERSEY NUMBER: 44
HEIGHT, WEIGHT: 6-9, 250
POSITION: Power forward
NBA SEASONS: 1
2012-13 SEASON STATS: 75 games, 7.8 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 52.7 percent FG, 79.8 percent FT.
2012-13 SEASON HIGHS: 22 points (Dec. 29 vs. Raptors); 12 rebounds (Feb. 19 vs. Bobcats); 4 assists (two times – latest April 13 vs. Celtics); 4 steals (Dec. 9 vs. Suns); 4 blocks (Dec. 14 vs. Warriors); 33 minutes (two times – latest Feb. 22 vs. Grizzlies).
BEST MOMENT: Nicholson showed off his promise early in the season when he totally dominated a matchup against Suns power forward Luis Scola in Phoenix. Showing off his ability to make hook shots with both hands, Nicholson hit nine of 11 shots to lead the Magic to a 98-90 win on Dec. 9. He had 19 points and nine rebounds – which, at the time, were career bests – and he also added a career-high four steals in the game.
OF NOTE: Among all NBA rookies, Nicholson ranked fourth in field goal percentage, fifth in free throw percentage, 14th in scoring and 16th in rebounding. He led the Magic in scoring five times and in rebounding three times. He had two double-doubles, scored in double figures 28 times and had two 20-point games. He also was named to the Rising Stars Challenge, where he played well while facing Magic center Nikola Vucevic.
FUTURE ROLE WITH THE MAGIC: Despite somewhat of a late-season fade, Nicholson’s rookie season could be considered a success. He showed that he can consistently score against NBA power forwards – be it with jump hooks in the lane or mid-range jump shots from the elbow. But Nicholson absolutely must become bigger and stronger this offseason so that he can become a better defender. Too often, he was backed under the rim by more powerful players. His struggles defensively and an inability to rebound outside of his area cut into his playing time late in the season. He played just 16.3 minutes a game in March and April after playing 25.5 minutes a game in February. In an ideal situation, Nicholson will become a better defender next season and be a key reserve who allows the Magic move Tobias Harris to small forward some and Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis to center some. Nicholson can be instant offense off the bench with his deft touch around the basket, but he must improve defensively to cement his position with the Magic.
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